After packing and re-packing three times, I was finally down to a reasonable two suitcases for my youngest son and I and a hanging bag stuffed to within an inch of the zipper’s capacity. Which dress makes me look skinnier? Which pants have a looser waistband to wear home? Ah conundrums, how I love you! I shoved in extra strength sunscreen, Tylenol and recounted the cash in my wallet for the adventures that awaited us on the apptly named Dream. Visions of island hopping, fruity drinks with frilly paper parasols and a golden tan danced in my work addled head. We would be cruising with my parents, my brothers, sister in laws, three little boys under six (hence the Tylenol) and my uncle with his long time girlfriend.
We were celebrating my dad’s seventieth birthday as well as my little brother (which at 6’3″ is kind of a funny thing to call him) turning forty. A monumental occasion like this was cause for overeating and spending time in a casino apparently (I thought a more appropriate gift was a watch or maybe a gift card to Sports Authority, but no). Our family is small but spread across Florida with my little tribe living in the northern outpost of the Atlanta burbs. The rare chance to get to have dinner together was something I looked forward to and we had two extremely patient and slightly amused waiters, Emilio and Caesar, bring us more food than humanly possible to eat (but we rose to the occasion). My son seemed to exist solely on pizza by the pool, the never ending ice cream fountain and chicken nuggets, his preferred sustanence of choice. I enjoyed slightly more adult fare including shrimp cocktail, lobster, and the most amazing molten chocolate cake. But watching my mother and her brother perform YMCA one evening at dinner with a waitstaff singing in their best broken English was a sight to behold! I plan to post it on YouTube and expect it to go viral any day.
What I expected the trip to be wasn’t was it was at all, but that is not a bad thing. I met people and saw places that I wouldn’t have otherwise (and will write about them in the coming week). I had time with my parents which I treasure especially as we pass the mark of the next decade for my dad. My uncle was celebrating his upcoming one year anniversary of surviving a stroke last year, with good health and only a modicum of wine at dinner. My brothers were sitting next to women they clearly adore and we were surrounded by our boys, wild and full of joy that I wish I could bottle and sell. I raised my glass and toasted to all that surrounded me in the Carribean sea-to good health, family and love. What else is there to dream of?
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